Violence reduction units

School exclusions and youth violence

Today, a growing number of children and young people are affected by social, emotional and behavioural issues which hinder their learning and limit their life chances.

This pattern is reflected in the rising number of school exclusions: in the last 5 years there has been a 60% rise in the number of pupils permanently excluded from schools in England. The most recent data shows that on average, 42 pupils were permanently excluded on every school day – a total of 410,000 exclusions. 

How we are addressing the problem 

nurtureuk is working with Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) in London and Kent and Medway to reduce school exclusions and youth violence, through a combination of consultancy, training and intervention. 

Underpinned by the 6 Principles of Nurture and the Graduated Nurture Approach, this programme is designed to help schools identify and respond to their pupils’ social, emotional and developmental needs, as well as any other disadvantages they are facing, which may be connected to disruptive or violent behaviour.

We provide each school with a dedicated Lead Consultant, who works closely with the staff to understand their specific context, and to decide how we can best support them. As well as using the Boxall Profile® Online to assess pupils’ needs, we can, for example, offer training in child development, attachment and trauma-informed practice, and suggest practical interventions tailored to their needs.      

Adults talking to young people

Who we work with

In London, we’re working with 36 schools across 15 boroughs, and in Kent and Medway, we’re working with 9 primary, infant and secondary schools. We’re also working with a range of further education institutions, Alternative Provisions and Pupil Referral Units. 

Some of the schools we’re working with already had some knowledge of our tools and approach; others have come to us with no previous experience of our work, but with huge enthusiasm and a clear wish to do something different for their young people.

If you’re interested in how we can help to reduce youth violence in your area, please contact us at:

Mayor of London VRU logo
Kent and Medway VRU logo
The problem of school exclusions is particularly severe among disadvantaged pupils.


Children and young people with Special Education Needs and/ or Disabilities (SEND) are around six times more likely to be permanently excluded from school.


Pupils eligible for free school meals were four times more likely to be permanently excluded from school.


Pupils of Black Caribbean heritage are excluded at a rate of nearly three times their White British peers.


Looked-after children are five times more likely to be temporarily excluded than other pupils. 

(Pinball Kids, RSA, 2020)
A recent Children’s Commissioner Report warns that 1 in 25 teenagers in England are currently falling through the gaps in education and social care. And that by being excluded, these pupils – already some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged  – are put at greater risk of gang exploitation and violence.